It’s a Facebook post that has been shared by 27,000 people and liked over 170,000 times.
“Bago siya pumasok sa school kanina tinanong niya ako.”
Lana: “Ya Jo, how much my one riyal in the Philippines?”
Inday Jo: “Maybe 11 or 12 pesos.”
Lana: “Really? 11 or 12 for 1 riyal?” (Namangha talaga siya.)
Inday Jo: “Yes.”
Lana: “Oh, my god! The children can buy food in my one riyal?”
Inday Jo: “Yes, they can buy food, Lana.”
Lana: “Yes! Yes! (yumakap sa akin) Give to the kids that I saw crying in the news. Ya Jo, Yes! Yes!” (Lumundag sabay taas sa kanyang kamay at sumayaw) “I’m so happy Ya Jo, I will tell my classmate to give one riyal for you to send in the Philippines.”
Inday Jo: (natameme ako at niyakap na lang siya) “Thank you, Lana.”
Lana: “I’m a good girl now Ya Jo sa?”
Inday Jo: “You’re an angel!”
Lana is a seven-year-old Lebanese girl who lives in Qatar. Ya Jo or Inday Jo, who wrote the post, is Jovelyn Bayubay Revilla, author of the book “Masaya Din, Malungkot Din (Karanasan ng OFW),” co-author of “Sindi ng Lampara (OFW Stories),” columnist of Pilipino Star Ngayon’s Middle East Edition, and blogger at DefinitelyFilipino.com. She is Lana’s yaya. “Proud domestic worker na inday sa bahay ako,” she said.
Jovelyn has been working for Lana’s family for over three years now since she moved to Doha, Qatar. The Zamboanga del Sur-native isn’t new to OFW life—she has also spent five years in Dubai.
The last time she was home in the Philippines was in June, when she came here with her husband for a vacation. But even if she’s far away, Jovelyn makes sure she knows what’s going on in the Philippines by using Facebook.
It was also on Facebook that she found out about Supertyphoon “Yolanda.” Then she tuned in to CNN and was shocked by the devastation left by the typhoon. So was her boss. “Napa-‘hala Diyos ko po’ ako. Dumating ang Madam Lina ko at ipinakita ko sa kanya ang balita at, tulad ko rin, naawa sila at hindi makapaniwala.”
Jovelyn knew she had to do more than just watch the news. She jumped into action.
Knocking on doors
Last year, Jovelyn and her friends put up a charity called Handog Ngiti Ng Mga Inday which provides scholarships, school supplies and organizes feeding programs for children in Davao. This time, they quickly launched Handog Katok sa Yolanda. Holding a tissue box that they had improvised into a donation box, she and Alice Vergara, also an OFW, started knocking on the doors of the villas in Edzan Compound where they live.
Using just her phone, Jovelyn wrote about the experience on Facebook.
“Si Ate Alice ang taga-katok sa mga pinto ng mga villa dito sa Ezdan. Ako naman taga-explain. Nagka-ubos English ko at Arabic, hehehe.
Door 1: “Yes?”
Inday Jo: “Good evening, Madam, we need little help for the people in the Philippines, affected in Yolanda Typoon. Just little amount Madam, it’s a big help for my country.”
Door 1: “I saw in the news ok wait!”
Pagbukas ulit ng pinto hinulugan ang Kleenex box namin at sabay kami ni Ate Alice napa-thank you.
Door 2: “What?”
Inday Jo: “We need little donation Madam for the victim of typhoon in the Philippines.”
Door 2: “I don’t have change!”
Inday Jo/Ate Alice: “Ok madam, thank you!”
Smile na lang kaming dalawa. Medyo napahiya, hahaha!
Door 3: “Sho? Minu?”
Ate Alice: “Alice mama!”
Inday Jo: “Help madam in the Philippines!”
Door 3: “Sho?” (Hindi nakakaintindi ng English.)
Inday Jo: “Hada Pilipin mama waid muskilla mafi akil, mafi may, mafi filbit, kila karban.” (Dumugo utak ko sa kakaisip.)
Door 3: “Okay.”
Paglabas may dalang pera, hinulog sa box. Sukran agad kami ni Ate hehe.
Door 4: “Naam? What?”
Inday Jo: “We need little help madam for the victim of typhoon.”
Door 4: “What typhoon?”
Inday Jo: “Typhoon in the Philippines madam.”
Door 4: “What typhoon? I can’t get you!”
Inday Jo: (nag-isip ng word para maintindhan ano ang typhoon) “Too much water madam then people like this.” (click ko daliri sa leeg ko na sign na may namatay)
Door 4: “Ahhh! Ok wait.”
At pagbukas ulit ng pinto sabay ngiti sa paghulog ng donasyon niya.
Jovelyn said, “May nagbigay, may tumanggi at may hindi nagbukasng pinto. Pero hindi kami sumuko na makahanap ng pinto na bukas-pusong tumulong sa mga kababayan natin.”
They continued knocking on doors the next day, doing it late at night after they had finished their work. Sometimes, the kids they take care of even join them on their mission. “Excited sila na pindutin ang doorbell at agad ang linya nila ay, “Help Philippines! Put money in the box!”
After three days of knocking on people’s doors, Joveyln, Alice, Angelo Climaco and their friends have managed to raise over 1,300 riyals, 100 Egyptian pounds, 66 dirams, two dollars and 10 euros.
The money has been sent to the mother of her coauthor Racquel Padilla and will be used to aid the victims in Capiz. “Sila mismo ang mag-aabot ng mga tulong na nalikom namin.”
Her posts have gone viral, raking in shares, likes and a lot of comments. Jovelyn said, “Masaya kami na na-share ko ang idea ko sa pagtulong kahit nasa gitnang silangan sa dayuhang bansa kami.”
Jovelyn has also inspired other OFWs to do the same. Kuwait-based Facebook user Lenz Kie brought her box to a school. Zel Garcia, also in Doha, posted her version of Jovelyn’s recycled donation box, writing “Salamat sa idea.”
Jovelyn is thankful that her employers are always supportive of her endeavors. “Ang employer ko laging “Go Ya Jo” ang linya. Si Lana lagi yan sumusuporta sa akin. Kahit sa pagsusulat ko. iPad niya minsan ang ginagamit ko at una siyang lulundag kapag nanalo ako sa mga writing contest sa Facebook.”
Jovelyn also used her Facebook account to let other Filipinos in Qatar know how they can send help.
Jovelyn has no plans of stopping. “Isa-isa naming handugan ang mga apektadong lugar na nasalanta ni Yolanda, mauna kami sa Capiz, sunod Leyte.”
She added, “Wala sa antas ng propesyon o uri ng suot na uniform at halaga ng sahod ang pagtulong sa kapwa.”